10 December: Elizabeth Coppock (University of Gothenburg)

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We are happy to announce that on Thursday, December 10th, Elizabeth Coppock (University of Gothenburg) will give a talk in the ROSE series. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Time: 15:30 – 17:00

Location: Utrecht, Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)

Speaker: Elizabeth Coppock

Title: Horn Alternatives and Hamblin Alternatives
(Joint work with Floris Roelofsen and Ivano Ciardelli)


I will present work in progress aiming to capture the scalar and ignorance implicatures associated with bare numerals and three kinds of modified numerals: “more than n”, “at least n”, and “n or more”. Part of the challenge is to capture a three-way contrast, where:
– bare numerals give rise to quantity implicatures (“not more than n”) while the modified numerals under consideration do not, yet
– bare numerals pattern with comparative modifiers in not giving rise to ignorance implicatures (at least in certain contexts), while superlative modifiers and “n or more” constructions do, specifically with respect to the prejacent (so “John has at least three children” conveys not only that the speaker does not know how many children John has, but also that the speaker considers it possible that John has three children).
Another part of the challenge is to account for the fact that the ignorance implicatures that do arise are dependent on the question under discussion, as has been shown in recent experimental work.
Two approaches to explaining these kinds of contrasts have been explored in the literature. One approach derives all of the data from a particular way of computing quantity implicatures, using Horn scales. Another approach derives ignorance implications as a kind of quality implicature, relying on Hamblin alternatives. We put forth the proposal that, in the domain of modified numerals, a combination of the two approaches is needed. We develop such a combined account, and show that it improves on earlier proposals which placed the entire explanatory burden either on quantity or on quality.

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